The idea for Reform, as well as the First Reform was born on 9 February, 2011.
It was launched by IVIilitarus on an inactive Combine thread on the SDOF , in an attempt to draw Combine members back to posting and to bring about changes to The Combine inspired by the EVE University of EVE Online.
The Reform eventually culminated in the launch of this wiki and Combine Central, as well as the shuffling of The Combine into a more community-oriented clan with clear goals and leadership.
DescriptionEditThe First Reform was started to re-orient The Combine from a standard clan to an advanced teaching institution serving Stellar Dawn players. This goal would be achieved through the addition of various new assets such as the SDCombine Wiki and a complete change of existing rank structures.
Reform took multiple months, and many ideas were implemented as well as discarded. Divisions were created and subsequently died for the first time during the First Reform, and this wiki was launched early in the process to gather and store the large amounts of information needed for adequate functionality of The Combine.
The First Reform was a preliminary to the Second Reform, setting up a vital administrative groundwork and spiritual foundation that The Combine could build upon in the future. Basic reward systems, clear goals and the Wiki were established in this time.
Discussion and planning for the First Reform took place on the forums at first and then migrated to small meetings on Skype.
Transcripts from the Stellar Dawn Official Forum ThreadEdit
Combine Reformation: Veni, Vidi, Flati
Reform? Come on.
I want to reform a good part of the Combine (again). This time, allowing players to specialise in certain fields, rather than limiting themselves to the vague, ranks and titles. This time, it's done video game expansion style, with major changes and new additions.
I'll be taking my EVE Online experiences back to the Combine and turn it into something truly special.
We're nearing the end of our first thread (outstanding work, by the way), so I want to start preparing changes for the Combine when the next version of the thread is launched.
If this reform is successful, I will launch similar future reforms, each adding new divisions and diversifying the Combine as needed. These may be scheduled or only take place near the end of a thread's lifespan and will function similarly to game expansions by adding new features and fixing existing problems which are small enough to be ignored.
The name of this reformation is Veni, Vedi, Flati. Shortened to VVF. Refer to this project by that name until we're done with it and can launch.
Veni, Vedi, FlatiEdit
Goals: Addition of a Ministry of Lies and Propaganda (MiniTruth) to the Scholarly Arm, including full rank and title systems, operational procedures, stated goals, pretentious Latin mottos and vaguely symbolic ASCII logos, as well as making severe changes to the existing rank systems.
The Scholarly and Militant Arms will be split up entirely. Members now exist solely in either Arm as part of the Arm's main playerbase or in a Division.
The Scholarly Arm will now become an open area in which players may socialise, learn, have fun and interact with other organisations. Learning takes place here, with live classes and Q&A events held over voice chat. All players start here.
MiniTruth will handle all media such as news, screenshots, videos, assorted propaganda/advertising/promotion, record events and classes and broadcast, create and post on websites. Administrative staff, writers, artists and designers are present here to run the day-to-day business of the Combine.
The Militant Arm hosts live combat events, live combat training and combat events with other organisations and defend us when things get ugly. Applicants are screened, have set duties assigned and more strict regulations.
The Militant Arm will now form the better trained, shock component of the Combine military. Scholarly Arm members may take up a militia title during wartime and fight alongside the Militant Arm, but are not expected to do so. The militia is entirely voluntary. Only the Militant Arm is obligated to fight.
Change existing application system to better reflect the Combine's need to teach.
Teachers apply separately to students and perform live Q&A within chatrooms and support new players.
Lecturers use live voice chat to host classes with students regarding specific or challenging topics. Lecturers must write their planned classes and submit for analysis before delivery. Lecturers must perform a Teacher's duty as well as their own and must have a microphone.
Student Administrators advise students on Combine specific topics such as rules, requirements for Divisions, doctrine, history and upcoming events, as well as screening applications, moderating chatrooms and punishing stupid people.
Students have few requirements to apply and belong to the Combine until they are ready to move to another clan or a Division. Students attend classes, mingle in chatrooms and build themselves until ready to carry on.
Students must earn various Certificates through class attendance, live events, general knowledge and reputation. Certificates are used to apply to different positions.
MiniTruth will include bloggers, writers for a possible wiki (this is Serious Business), possible artists, video makers and other administration staff to manage assets and future reform. These guys do paperwork and run the Combine. Fair tradeoff. Application requires experience in administrating and time in the Combine.
The Militant Arm will dedicate itself entirely to warfare and preparing for warfare. Constant live combat exercises and combat events against other organisations ensure a disciplined, experienced assault force ready for deployment at any time.
There are individual specialties in the ranks, including command staff, repair specialists and damage dealers. Command staff lead via live chat.
Training exercises are a must and everyone is expected to attend combat-oriented classes and live exercises with some regularity.
Other Proposed ChangesEdit
1. Replacement of existing rewards with certificates.
Suggestions and VotingEdit
Suggestions, comments and voting of changes will added or decided here.
You are free to post your opinion on the additions, reject or improve individual changes and suggest new ones. Please provide reasoning or improvements for something you reject.
You may also vote to decide on whether you approve of a change or not. Your vote will be added here.
Votes may be changed on request, as long as proof of original vote is provided.
Full split of Arms into independent environments; Yes: 4, Perhaps: 1 Not preferred: 0, No: 2
Addition of specialist Divisions; Yes: 6, Perhaps: 0, Not preferred: 0, No: 1
Integration of Voice Chat as a requirement for certain positions/activities: Yes: 5, Perhaps: 0, Not preferred: 1, No: 1
Scholarly Arm as a starting point for all Combine members: Yes: 2, Perhaps: 2, Not preferred: 1, No: 2
Teachers, Lecturers, Student Administrators, Students: Yes: 3, Perhaps: 3, Not preferred: 0, No: 0
MiniTruth to broadcast media and administrate the Combine: Yes: 7, Perhaps: 0, Not preferred: 0, No: 0
SDCombine Wikia: Yes: 0, Perhaps: 5, Not preferred: 0, No: 1
Militant Arm with duties, many training exercises as a dedicated fighting force: Yes: 7, Perhaps: 0, Not preferred: 0, No: 0
Replacement of existing rewards with certificates: Yes: 4, Perhaps: 2, Not preferred: 0, No: 0
Comments and Summary on Early PlanEdit
The original plan for the First Reform was to split the Arms in two, so entry becomes independant of each other and the Arms can function seperately, almost as entirely different clans. Each Arm would have a Division added. The Scholarly Arm would have had the Ministry of Lies and Propaganda. The Militant Arm would have had the Division of Ungentlemanly Warfare. New players would be inducted into the Scholarly Arm first, before branching out.
The Reform also introduced the idea of live, voice-chat hosted classes and turned the Combine from a well-organised, but aimless clan into a clan with a long-term goal of actively helping players.
Many voters disliked the idea of a full split of Arms and using the Scholarly Arm as a starting point for everyone, so a compromise was reached in the form of Combine Central. The Arms would now have somewhat equal responsibility and Combine Central would deal with application of new and casual players.
The addition of Divisions, Lecturers and use of the Militant Arm as a well-trained fighting force were all met with support. The Ministry of Lies and Propaganda was also voted in, but was postponed to the next reform, whilst Combine Central and the wikia were in development.
Voice chat as a requirement for certain positions was mostly supported, but was a plan for later, when the Combine was better developed.
The final plan was initiated on 8 March, 2011. It was posted to the SDOF thread, with everything finalised. The 20 posts reserved were to be used to demo the new pages and allow for the members to help the editing process.
Final Plan TranscriptEdit
This page will be used as the proposed layout for new additions during the reform. This page also contains information on possible rank systems, ideas for the new certificate system and updates to the rest of The Combine.
The main logo and Pretentious Latin Motto will be recycled for use by Combine Central. The front page of the new thread will be Combine Central's page.
Edits to the original post will be marked with ***. Compare to the originals and suggest improvements or other edits.
- Í_GUILD ô INTRODUCTION_Ì
"Knowledge and Assistance" - Combine Motto
Welcome to The Combine, a group of players helping everyone and building a reliable, mature community. We are to be a close-knit, intelligent group who strive to help new players and give all players a mature place to go and have fun.
The object of this guild is to foster development of new players, provide a ground for people interested in all aspects of Stellar Dawn and have a place for people to connect.
- This guild is a gateway for new players, to build them into productive and mature members of the community. Here, the questions they'd usually ask in a crowded street are finally answered.
We function as a*** large, learning centre, helping, learning, enjoying and interacting.
The Founding Principles for this guild have been noted down, as etched into the*** pretentious hammer and stated here;
• Guide new players along and*** produce a generation of competent, mature Stellar Dawn players.
• Give experienced players a place to continue learning and let them interact with others of their stripe.
• Take on challenges as a united group and hosting fun PvP events for all.
• Provide a mature, friendly place in which various players may meet, communicate and progress together.
• Connect with other player organisations and fansites, grow alongside them and help each other along the way,*** without breaching neutrality.
Those were our Founding Principles. This is our guild.
Once more, welcome.
This welcome letter will be posted just beneath the Guild Introduction.
_COMBINE ‡ CENTRAL_
"Meaningful quote" - Attribution of meaningful quote
Welcome to Combine Central.
You are currently standing in the largest body of The Combine. Combine Central is where the organisation branches out into the Arms and then, Divisions. New members start here to acclimatise to The Combine and use Combine Central as a stepping stone toward specialisation in one of the Arms.
Combine Central is where members who do not wish to move to another Arm stay, making up a large, friendly playerbase from which anyone can ask for help and have fun with. Combine Central is also home to temporary members who plan on leaving with no intention of a permanent stay in The Combine.
Once more, welcome.
Welcome to the heart and soul of The Combine.
So I'll probably have so many certificates, that I need to leave an entire page open for them. >.>
"Meaningful quote" - Attribution of meaningful quote
Advancement, self-gratification and egotism within The Combine is determined by Certificates. Certificates are issued for a variety of reasons, such as event attendance, performance significantly above needed, class attendance and behaviour.
Certificates are divided into 4 categories (because I like categories). All Certificates will be issued under a category, and new Certificates may only be created with Leader or majority Executor approval.
One day, I hope that Combine issued certificates will be widely recognised and taken into consideration as a resumé for recruitment elsewhere.
The categories are Core, Scholarly, Militant and Subjective.
Core certificates consist mainly of ingame knowledge, knowledge of game mechanics, strategies, lore and security. They are not usually awarded based on contributions to The Combine.
Scholarly certificates display the owner's skill in management, teaching and creative works within Stellar Dawn. This covers their ability to manage groups, coordinate events, as well as talent in visual or written arts such as fanfiction and videos.
Militant certificates are awarded for fast thinking in combat, leadership of fighting teams, knowledge of abstract fighting strategies and styles, such as espionage and 'dishonourable' methods. They are also awarded to dedicated players who are consistently present at training and live fire events.
Subjective certificates do not have any strict set of requirements and are awarded after recommendation. These are usually individual shows of talent, courage or discipline that are conspicuous, but not covered in other Certificates. They are awarded via Combine player majority vote, Executor majority vote or Leadership decision.
We'll probably wind up having separate posts for each category, but let's generalise now, because it's easier and because I'm lazy.
I'm also considering an incentives system, where class and event attendance earns points, which can be exchanged for nice stuff at The Combine's expense.
"Meaningful quote" - Attribution of meaningful quote
Nothing specific, yet (on account of a playable game not existing to the players)
I say these should be issued for class attendance. Mainly that. Also, maybe issuing some for having specific skill levels, because that tends to build experience.
I could also pull up a system similar to earning Ph.D's, in which you write an essay of sorts which is submitted for evaluation. If the essay contains merit, it will be published and you will gain a certificate. This is probably for very experienced players.
Stellar Librarian - Has a published work in the Stellar Archive. Also gains Stellar Librarian rank on off-site forums.
Basic Event Management - Has hosted 3 or more events in timezones at least 4 hours apart from each other. Event must be entirely of own creation and suggestion and must have attendance of at least 6 members, if possible.
Clan Leader - Recipient has organised 12 live combat events, is known for capable moderation and is a charismatic leader and good writer. This is issued to players who are able to fill a variety of clan leadership positions, including event managers, treasurers and other, lower leadership positions.
Conversational Application of Grammar and Spelling (CAGS) - Recipient demonstrates consistent use of correct grammar and spelling, including basic and advanced punctuation, as well as correction of own spelling as needed. (This isn't a joke).
Basic Fanfiction - Recipient has written 2 pieces of Stellar Dawn fanfiction (each longer than 8000 characters, unless an experimental, short piece) which has been consistently well-received by readers and critics.
Small Team Leadership - The recipient has led a team of 2-9 in a live combat event whilst acting on orders from a higher authority and communicating with their own team.
Strategic Thinker - Recipient has organised a live combat group of more than 30 players and the recipient demonstrates a talent for leadership of larger groups, including organisation, motivation and acting out plans for the group. The recipient is capable of thinking on a larger scale, as well as relaying orders to lower-ranked leaders.
Defence Specialist - Recipient has attended all defence oriented classes and has wide knowledge of all defence measures in Stellar Dawn, the underlying mechanics and has applied them in at least 5 live combat events, with at least 6 people in each event without failure.
Assault Specialist - Recipient has attended all attack oriented classes and has wide knowledge of all attack and counterattack tactics in Stellar Dawn, their underlying mechanics and is able to recite weapon hierarchies, differences, advantages and advantages.
Lead by Example - Recipient held a crucial position or led an important attack in a live combat event with at least 2 other players which greatly hindered enemy progress and strengthened allied progress.
I can See Your House from Here - Recipient applied long-ranged combat and scouting skills during 3 live combat events, coordinating allied attacks and updating vital intelligence such as troop concentrations and equipment.
High Value Target - Recipient constantly launched raids of harassment against a target or objective throughout a live combat event, causing the target to be ineffective at its duties.
Publius Valerius Laevinus - Cause a very lopsided kill to death ratio or greatly hinder enemy progress during a live combat event or objective which is eventually lost.
Militant Rank System OverviewEdit
The Militant Arm is very heavy on training and discipline by default. In case of war, ALL Militant Arm members are required to serve a tour of duty lasting for at least 1.5 months of wartime, meaning you are bound to The Combine and Militant Arm for 1.5 months of wartime, during which you are required to remain with The Combine and fight. (pretty sure I'll lengthen or shorten it based on place in the GMA)
Organisation will in the Militant Arm goes as follows:
Strategic Planners - A few, upper echelon of leadership who are meant to organise large scale campaigns and massive battles, during which players are required to be present. This can include entire wars, strategic planning of espionage, harassment and adapting to changing circumstances during war.
Colonels - Colonels are assigned as leaders to specific battles and events. They lead their assigned group before and during the action. Afterward, an After Action Report detailing important aspects, details and statistics must be written (I'm serious)
Squad Leaders - Squad Leaders are qualified to lead teams of 2-10 and are called upon or volunteer during battle planning to assemble their teams. Squads are not assigned to squad leaders.
Guardsmen - Default fighters of every stripe and specialisation not in an officer position. These can vary from new entrants to hardened veterans, all of whom are called upon to fight by officers.
In preparation for combat events, the officers (SqL's, Col's and StratPlanners) build a roster of attendees for the session. Squads are built from scratch in selection and a plan is drawn up and handed to everyone.
In case of an emergency, ANY officer may recruit all available Guardsmen for immediate action, but must fill out an AAR afterward.
Nobody is assigned a permanent squad, because they are almost never together when needed. Allowing officers to draw directly when needed allows for flexibility in emergencies.
Thing about the Militant Arm is paperwork. I want detailed, comprehensive posts on each and single battle that took place, win or loss, expected or unexpected, for posting onto the wiki. (we've got one of those, too)
Which means officers aren't just guys who've given up large portions of their social lives so they can boss people around. They're leaders and need to fill out the leader's share of paperwork.
The reason for the lack of pre-assigned squads is to allow flexibility. Officers and even Guardsmen can form Quick Response Teams in case of emergencies consisting of as many available volunteers as possible, in case someone's getting beat on and needs help.
The idea was inspired by EVE Online's Quick Response Fleets. The EVE University could form quick response fleets by request, as long as they had your location and volunteers. Okay, so they weren't quick enough to save my very expensive, new spaceship, but still, the idea is sound and I'm not gonna deal with another layer of whining about lack of camaraderie within squads. That's just stupid.
When we have time for planning before a battle, Squad Leaders are able to pick their squads out at will. Final layout will be decided when the game is released and we know about which weapons do what.
Squads should consist of the following:
1-3 Electronic Warfare (whatever Stellar Dawn's equivalent of freezing, drain attack, drain defence and heal spells are)numbers will vary depending on effectiveness and accessibility. Healing is especially important, here.
3-5 Damage Dealers who make up the bulk of the damage dealing and tanking. Somewhere in here are designated Seconds and Thirds. If a Squad Leader is knocked out, Second takes over, followed by Third.
1 Squad Leader (voice chat strongly recommended) who relays orders from up. Squad Leader will be hooked on 2 voice channels. One for their squad, one with the other squads and higher ups, to prevent saturation of stupid messages.
Battles fought by the Combine work on a focus fire mechanic, in which the battle commander relays primary, secondary and tertiary targets to Squad Leaders, who relay to their squads.
All players should be heavily drilled in attacking primary target and ignoring their own welfare. Let the healers take care of your damage or you die. War ain't pretty and you're not always lucky.
Targets will be destroyed in order, from Primary to Secondary to Tertiary. Commander will assign new targets as soon as one is lost.
Battles run on focus fire and weapon discipline because blocking incoming damage has limited effectiveness. Dead opposition isn't capable of dealing damage, and if we're heavily trained enough, we'll be able to carry the pattern against an enemy which is unable to coordinate healing quickly enough to stop their losses from happening.
The worst thing a clan can encounter is collective arrogance. Egotistic clans filled to the brim with elite members, vaunting their victories find it exceptionally difficult to explain their defeats. The Combine accepts every defeat, points fingers and yells at stupid people as needed and then works out what went wrong, to prevent it from happening in future.
AARs are filled out by the battle commander, detailing statistics, location, time, outcomes, lessons learned and analysis of the battle. Squad Leaders and squads are interviewed on all events, which are compiled into the report and AAR, then submitted to the Scholarly Arm for analysis on what could have gone better and what changes should be made to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.
The resulting report (and summary) is posted onto the wiki, for everyone to view.
A short lecture on Combine management policy was then posted, along with another full page of reserves, just in case.
Okay, that should be it. For real, this time.
A purely democratic system (with in-game voting and senates) is generally not implemented into an MMO. The leaders are usually given free reign over kick and mute buttons, which means total power is given to the leadership and the system was originally meant to be run as a fair dictatorship (with aliens).
One thing I'd like to stress about the Combine is that if we have unlimited trade in Stellar Dawn, I will be running The Combine as a Communist Democracy.
The idea is to take collected funds and distribute them primarily based on leadership decisions (not equally, because that's stupid). The plan is to have reimbursement programs of items and cash losses through Combine inaction or through losses incurred when helping The Combine.
Player's opinions matter widely when making decisions, but leadership is allowed to boot any idiot who tries to play rules lawyer. In the end, the leadership has total power, but refrains from using it until strictly necessary.
One thing a lot of people don't seem to understand is that a Communist Democracy is fully capable of existing.
Communism is an economic system, not a method of political organisation. The opposite of Communism is not Democracy. The opposite of Communism is Capitalism.
In Communism, the wealth is collected by the state and distributed by the state. Free enterprises are limited and the state provides for everyone, using everyone's money. In Capitalism, the state provides the basic infrastructure and lets the private businesses do the rest. Competition in a capitalism is strongly encouraged, as is independent thought.
So, yes. A Communist Democracy can exist and (theoretically) function. It's a Communist Democracy when the state controls the majority of the money, provides for everyone, whilst everyone else gives their input and opinion on decision-making which affects the organisation as a whole.
Outcomes and LessonsEdit
The first Reform was meant to test the feasibility of voice chat and the potential for espionage in Stellar Dawn, but was steered in another, better direction by the lack of need of voice chat and espionage before the game was even released.
Instead, drawing on a compromise on the argument of splitting the Arms, Combine Central was born, as was the early stages of planning for the Second Reform. More importantly, setting up Combine Central whilst canceling both Divisions meant there was some free space left in the schedule, and when IVIilitarus got bored one evening, the SDCombine Wiki was born.
This Reform was more of a learning process and redirection of goals than making huge additions to the Combine. The Reform wound up setting up a groundwork for what the Combine would eventually become, rather than enhance it. All additions made to the Combine during this Reform were meant to set up the infrastructure needed to begin teaching new players.
The previously planned removal of Guild Houses was also achieved during the First Reform. The Guild Houses were not removed earlier due to lack of an adequate replacement.